In our last blog post, we analyzed the true cost to own a new or used car. In this post, we’re going to switch to pickup trucks and compare the costs to own four of the most popular pickup trucks.

Just as with the most popular sedans, the cost advantages of owning a used truck over a new truck are not as obvious as one might think.

Models analyzed

For this study, we examined pricing data from 50,000 trucks listed for sale. The models included in our study are:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500
  • Ford F150
  • RAM 1500
  • Toyota Tundra

Measuring the value and cost of owning a truck

To measure the true cost of ownership, we take several costs into account:

  • Depreciation
  • Maintenance and Repair Work
  • Taxes

For this post, we analyzed two different model years to calculate these amounts:

  • 2017 models (new)
  • 2013 models (used)

First-Year Depreciation

Let’s start by examining the first-year depreciation for these models.

  • 2017: $4,040 (10.15%)
  • 2013: $2,039.88 (7.93%)

The depreciation in the first year of owning a new truck is $4,000, while with a 2013 model, you’re only experiencing $2,000 in depreciation. Right off the bat, We’re saving 50% – nearly $2,000 – just from owning a used truck.

As the chart below shows, first-year depreciation on RAM and Toyota model is significantly low. Especially, for the 2013 Toyota Tundras, where first-year depreciation is only $1,000.

Five-Year Depreciation

Next, let’s examine the depreciation experienced when owning a vehicle for five years.

  • 2017: $15,387(39%)
  • 2013: $10,670 (40.75%)

Here, we see that the additional depreciation cost of buying a new truck is $4,717. However, one thing that is interesting is that the overall percentage of depreciation is higher in 2013 models versus new trucks. (Used trucks continue to lose the same percentage of value as new trucks.) Perhaps, this is due to maintenance or taxes.

Again, we see that new RAM and Toyota trucks hold their value the best. However, what is interesting is that 2013 Chevrolet Silverados hold their value the best among used trucks. A new Silverado depreciates more than any other vehicle, but after a few years, a used Silverado’s depreciation actually levels out, making it the cheapest used truck to own in terms of depreciation.

Total Five-Year Cost to Own

Next, let’s examine the total cost to own a truck over five years. This calculation includes all of the major costs an owner would experience over the course of owning a vehicle for five years – depreciation, maintenance and repairs.

  • 2017: $20,289
  • 2013: $18,011

When we add in costs for maintenance and repairs, we see the savings gap narrow, and we’re only saving $2,277 over five years. While that is a good chunk of change, on a monthly basis, it results in savings of only $37 per month.

When looking at specific models, it’s quite interesting to note that only the Chevrolet Silverado has a significant cost savings in buying a used vehicle. RAM 1500, Ford F150 and Toyota Tundra all offer similar cost structures over 5 years, regardless of buying a new or used truck.

What are the best trucks to buy?

Based on this data and analysis, there are clearly several leaders in the new and used truck categories.

Best new trucks:

  1. RAM 1500 – with the lowest cost of total ownership, the RAM 1500 tops our list of best value among new trucks.
  2. Toyota Tundra – just trailing the RAM 1500, the Tundra is also a very efficient truck to buy. It ranks at the top of our list in both new and used truck categories.

Best used truck:

Chevrolet Silverado 1500. While the Silverado ranks as the worst new truck to buy, by the time a five-year old Silverado has made it into your hands, it has the lowest total cost of ownership of any truck, primarily due to its very low depreciation rate.